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UFV Sports Saturday – Men’s Hoops Start Strong

Abbotsford – Men’s Basketball: Cascades showcase balanced attack in blowout win over Griffins

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team continued its impressive play to start the season, dispatching the MacEwan Griffins 97-56 at the Envision Athletic Centre on Saturday night.

Brandon Burke came off the bench to rack up a game-high 20 points, and Kevon Parchment and Navjot Bains registered 16 points apiece in what was a clinical display by the hometown Cascades (4-0). Denzel James paced the Griffins (1-3) with 13 points.

The hosts were playing without injured starters Nate Brown and Mark Johnson, but got tremendous team-wide contributions to win decisively despite those key absences.

“It started with leadership from our core guys . . . recognizing that hey, life just got a little bit tougher due to injury,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said. “We trusted everyone on the team, we spaced the floor, we shared the basketball. We knew we had to play with pace and move the basketball, and make the simple play. A lot of guys got a lot of good opportunities out of it, and it happened today that we shot the ball well.”

The Cascades were coming off a 74-64 win over the Griffins on Friday, and the first quarter of Saturday’s rematch saw six lead changes as momentum swung like a metronome in ¾ time. UFV scored seven straight points to end the quarter, highlighted by a Burke three-pointer, to stake out a 25-19 lead heading into the second.

A James trey would get MacEwan to within one, but from there the Cascades controlled the play, ending the second quarter on a 25-5 run to blow the game open. UFV shot 52.6 per cent from the field in the first half while MacEwan went just 10-for-35 (28.6 per cent). The result was a commanding 50-29 Cascade lead at halftime.

It was more of the same in the third quarter as MacEwan struggled to contain the UFV offence. Marcus Morgan went 3-for-5 from beyond the arc in the frame to help UFV add 25 points to its tally and while MacEwan tried their best to keep up, they found themselves trailing by 31 heading into the final quarter.

Another 15-3 run in the fourth cemented the win and the weekend sweep for the Cascades, who ended up shooting 49.3 per cent from the field and 45.2 per cent (14-for-31) from beyond the arc. MacEwan, conversely, managed to knock down just 31.9 per cent of their attempts from the field and 22.2 per cent from three-point range.

Morgan (14 points, 4-for-7 from three) and Vijay Dhillon (12 points, 4-for-8 from three) were deadly from downtown for the Cascades, while Thadius Galvez and Atlas St. Paul-Butler contributed 12 points each for the Griffins.

“We were moving the ball, playing with each other (on offence), and playing really good help-side defence – just playing as one,” said third-year forward Bains, who registered eight rebounds and four assists to go with his 16 points.

“My mentality is just to get better right now – to be more consistent, especially with a few of our guys out right now. I’ve just got to pick up the slack and do the best I can until we’re back as a unit.”

With the win, UFV sits tied with the Thompson Rivers WolfPack atop the Explorer Division at 4-0. MacEwan and three other teams are tied for third at 1-3.

“Brandon and Nav were huge,” Friesen said. “They were crucial for our offensive output and winning the game like we did. Having guys step up, taking advantage of an opportunity and staying ready, is awesome.

“When you’re coming in off the bench in certain situations and you see that the starters, guys who have been here for a few years, have that sort of confidence in you, it can really work wonders. You saw that tonight.”

Up next for the Cascades is a visit to Prince George for a weekend series against the UNBC Timberwolves. MacEwan also heads north as they’ll take on Thompson Rivers.

Women’s Basketball: Griffins grind out 63-59 win over Cascades

The MacEwan Griffins women’s basketball team salvaged a weekend split on the road vs. the UFV Cascades, earning a 63-59 victory on Saturday evening at the Envision Athletic Centre.

The Griffins led for much of the game, but the Cascades battled back to knot the score 59-59 on Kayli Sartori’s spin move and finish in the lane with 49 seconds left.

But MacEwan reclaimed the lead when point guard Kendall Lydon drove into the paint and threaded a pass through to Megan Wood for a layup. Sartori was whistled for traveling on the ensuing UFV possession, and Lydon went 2-for-2 at the free throw line to seal the victory.

MacEwan improved to 3-1 behind 21 points and nine rebounds from Wood, and a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds) from Kelly Fagan.

Sartori led all scorers with 24 points and added 11 rebounds in a stellar performance for the Cascades (2-2), who were coming off a 72-61 win over MacEwan on Friday. Sydney Williams added 16 points, including three treys, to the Cascades’ cause.

“I thought MacEwan really responded tonight,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “They came in and you could tell they had a purpose in their step. Their veteran players came in and played hard, and I think our youth showed a little bit tonight. We had some execution errors, we made some silly foul-type errors, and a little too much on the turnover side (22 for the game) as well.

“But I’m really proud of the girls’ effort tonight. We had some adversity with some injuries and some sickness here, and I thought we just met it head-on. The girls played hard, and they were in it right to the last possession of the game which bodes well for our team moving forward.”

UFV jumped out to a 6-0 lead within two minutes of tip-off with consecutive three-balls from Williams and Sartori, but the Griffins settled in defensively and took control of the first quarter after that. MacEwan, led by Wood’s six points, outscored the Cascades 16-6 to carry a four-point lead into the second.

The Cascades would claw back and tie it, but once again, MacEwan found their groove and imposed their will with a 10-0 run. UFV would prove resilient, though, as Sartori came alive. The fourth-year forward contributed six points, one assist, three defensive boards and a steal in the final five minutes of the half to help her team close the gap to 34-29 at the half.

The teams traded baskets in the third, with MacEwan getting a big push from Fagan’s eight points and five boards in the quarter. The see-saw battle continued throughout the final frame, with MacEwan trying to fend off a UFV team desperately searching to steal the win.

A 7-2 run drew UFV level for the first time since early in the second quarter, but the Griffins made some big plays in the final minute to secure the win.

“I thought we battled really hard until the end,” Williams said afterward.

“We’re slowly progressing as a team, which is a good thing, and hopefully we’re going to peak at the right time.”

Both the Cascades and Griffins are on the road next weekend. UFV will look to improve their stead next weekend with two games against the UNBC Timberwolves in Prince George, while MacEwan travels to Thompson Rivers University to take on the WolfPack.

Men’s Volleyball: Cascades’ upset bid falls short vs. top-ranked Camosun

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team had the top-ranked team in the nations on the ropes, only to watch the Camosun Chargers claw their way back for a five-set victory on Saturday afternoon.

Playing on the road in Victoria, the Cascades won the first two sets 25-19 and 28-26, with Adam Chaplin and Dayton Pagliericci delivering key aces in the late stages of the second to secure the win.

In the third, UFV fell behind 17-11, but battled back to tie it 22-22. The CCAA No. 1-ranked Chargers finished strong, though, to prevail 25-23.

The Cascades appeared to be in full control in the fourth, up 8-1 early behind some tough serving from Chaplin. But Camosun came all the way back to win 27-25.

The fifth set was a similar story – UFV led 5-2 and 10-7, only to watch the Chargers storm back to seal the victory 15-13.

Camosun preserved its undefeated record at 8-0, while the CCAA No. 13-ranked Cascades fell to 4-4. All of UFV’s defeats this season have come on the road against teams ranked No. 1 in the nation at the time – the Douglas Royals (Oct. 23-24), and now the Chargers.

“It’s early in the season – it’s a chance for us to learn,” Cascades head coach Kyle Donen said afterward. “Unfortunately we learned two tough lessons in two difficult losses against teams we had a chance to beat. It should give us fuel for our fire as we continue our season.”

Among the other standouts for the Cascades were outside hitter Nick Bruce, who got off to a tremendous start to the match, and libero Isaiah Dahl, who made dig after dig in the late going to keep his team in it.

“We played well at the beginning of every set – the first two sets, we took it to them,” Donen analyzed. “We had our opportunities to put them away in the third, too. We didn’t put them away the way we needed to; we didn’t execute at key times.

“All in all, we can’t be too disappointed about the overall outcome of the weekend. We took the No. 1 team in the country to the brink.”

The UFV volleyball teams hit the road again next weekend, facing the College of the Rockies Avalanche in Cranbrook on Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 1 p.m., men 3 p.m.).

Women’s Volleyball: First-place Chargers complete weekend sweep of Cascades

For the second straight day, the University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball squad showed they can compete with the top team in the PacWest, only to be turned aside by the Camosun Chargers.

Coming off a hard-fought five-set loss in Victoria on Friday evening, the Cascades took a set from the CCAA No. 3-ranked Chargers in Saturday afternoon’s rematch, but the hosts prevailed in four (25-18, 22-25, 25-18, 25-18).

PacWest frontrunner Camosun improved to 7-1 on the season, while the fifth-place Cascades fell to 2-6.

“I’m happy with the level of volleyball we played as a whole on the weekend,” UFV head coach Mike Gilray said. “But today was more inconsistent.

“We’re playing against an extremely good team here in Camosun, and I thought we did a really good job of holding Michelle (Zygmunt, PacWest total offence leader) under control today and forcing them to make some changes.

“We maybe didn’t adjust quick enough, and they were able to grab momentum back after we won that second game.”

The Cascades got strong defensive efforts from libero Ray Flores and left side Kelly Robertson, both of whom were inserted in the starting lineup for Saturday’s rematch.

“We had some different people step up this weekend, and I like to see that,” Gilray said. “It shows that we’re deep . . . and can be balanced.”

The UFV volleyball teams hit the road again next weekend, facing the College of the Rockies Avalanche in Cranbrook on Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 1 p.m., men 3 p.m.).

– with Russell Arbuthnot, UFV Cascades communications staff

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